Latino Sexual Oddysey

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Friday, August 31, 2007

After death, they depart? Widows face deportation

After death, they depart? Widows face deportation
Copyright by The Associated Press
August 31, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jacqueline Coats' husband drowned after he dove into a Pacific Ocean riptide to rescue two boys. Now the immigrant from Kenya might be forced to leave the United States because he died before filing her residency application.
She is among more than 80 foreign-born widows across the nation who face possible deportation because their husbands died before immigration paperwork was approved. Some attorneys want to challenge the government's policy of rejecting green card requests if an immigrant's American spouse dies before the application is processed. At least one lawyer plans to file a class-action lawsuit.

A group of California state lawmakers filed a bill in January asking the Legislature to grant Coats legal status, but similar measures for other immigrants have seldom passed. The government has also generally denied applications for permanent residence for surviving spouses of U.S. citizens if the death occurs during the first two years of marriage.


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